I love Grace Hopper. I’ve used this photo many times in posts I’ve done over the years. You see an older woman with cat eye glasses, and because of unconscious cultural messages, you overlook her. That would be foolish.
Grace Hopper had outstanding intelligence. By the age of seven, she was already dismantling alarm clocks, just to see how they worked. She earned a Phd in math from Yale by age 28.
She was teaching math at Vassar when World War II started. She tried to enlist, but was refused because at age 34, she was too old and because she was too diminutive in size. No matter. She joined the U.S. Navy Reserve as part of the WAVES program (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). They were lucky to have her.
She was assigned to Harvard to work on one of the first computers. She spent the rest of her career in the Navy, and twice after retiring, the Navy called her back. Her rank when she finally retired was rear admiral (lower half).
Today, computer nerds still think fondly of Hopper. She developed COBOL, the most used computer program of all time. Why was it? The computer program used written words instead of numbers, making it supremely user-friendly.
Outstanding. That’s Grace Hopper.
Thanks to Sam Maggs and her great book Wonder Women.